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Monday, November 11, 2013

Another week has come and gone

Here we are again.
It's crazy to think that only a week has passed since last p-day, but it also feels like I was just here yesterday. It's crazy.
To clarify about the phrase "the most", it is used in place of the suffix 'iest.' Handsomest becomes most handsome. Happiest becomes most happy. Craziest becomes most crazy. Just thought that I would try to clear that up. I think I just confused a bunch of people.
Anyyyyyway. 
It's been a great week in the celestial seven blocks. Lets go!

MONDAY! It was a good day. A crazy day. After the normal events of p-day we went to the Tobler's house for a surprise birthday party for Toni's son Idary. It was fun. Toni is pretty committed now to be baptized on the 30th of November. We think that she'll make the date. She won’t know everything or have a complete understanding of the Restoration but I didn't either when I got baptized. It was an FHE too so Elder Slik and I shared the lesson about following the example of the Savior and then we ran off to Severina's house to eat rice. We had a great time there with them. Brother Odulio played the omnichord for us. It was pretty cool, some songs in Tagalog and some in English. He sang the song "My Way" and that was fun. Idk if yall read the article about him but he's pretty old but we love him so much. He knows a ton. He told us some stories from his time in Saudi Arabia. He has a ring from a prince there because he fixed a machine that waters the plants and saved the harvest. He also was there during a rebellion and so the government went into lockdown with checkpoints and stuff. He was working out there but he was in the first stake presidency or something like that and so he was going somewhere but didn't have his papers and they checked him. He said that they killed people who didn't have them but he showed them his temple recommend and they let him go. It was in English. That was a pretty cool story. We visited some other members after that. 

TUESDAY! We had a cool district meeting today. It was about helping our investigators to receive revelation through church attendance. I thoroughly enjoyed it. We talked about what church is and why we go there. The blessings that we can receive from attending church and the things our investigators are missing. It was good. We didn't have a role play but at the end we all went into the chapel to do a self evaluation. We were to ponder and check our own testimony of the Spirit at church. It was pretty powerful. It strengthened my testimony of church and it was also interesting because as we sat in the chapel pondering one of the missionaries got up to the pulpit and told us all how he was committing to do better and wanted to work harder. It was cool. I'd never had anything like that happen before. I think he was pretty sincere. Then we went to Sister Marx' house for a lesson with Vicky. They had brought us some lunch from Taco Bell which was kinda funny because Sister Marx and Vicky are both like super classy. So we talked about missionary work as we ate chalupas and dorrito tacos. Sister Marx is an incredible example to me of how to do member missionary work. She loves the Lord. She reads her scriptures every day. She understands the gospel and wants to share it with everyone. So she does. She is always trying to share. She described it kinda like this, “We have the chocolate cake, it'd be cruel for us just to let everyone else look at it and smell it. There is enough to go around but it’s pretty rude of us not to offer it to everyone we know and love.” The lesson was a powerful spiritual experience. We followed up on her reading and praying and just talked about her feeling the Spirit as she read. It was kind of funny one experience she shared. She said that she was walking back and forth one day at home pretty stressed out with some things that we going and she saw her BoM on the table. She knew that Sister Marx was always telling her to read it when she needed comfort so she sat down and turned to Alma 7 where we had assigned her to read. She expressed how she literally thought that it couldn't be as simple as everyone said it was. But as she read peace came over her. The Book of Mormon has power. We talked about baptism with her and her plans. She doesn't have a specific date yet but she will probably get baptized in the beginning of December. She is such an incredible person, very driven. A lot like the A family. These prepared people who I have taught and worked with and prayed and fasted for. I've learned so much from their great examples. We went to see Tyrone after that. We taught him the Word of Wisdom. He doesn't have any problems with it. Because of traumatic experiences in his past (sadly for him I feel like that defines his past. He's had a very, very hard life) he doesn't have any addictions and when we started teaching him he stopped drinking tea. Then we did some service and dissembled a bed. Then we read some of the Book of Mormon with Stephanie. She's great. She really feels the Spirit at church and when we have lessons, but she's been going through a hard time. Sister Justice is one of her fellowshippers and it’s made a big difference to Stephanie to have a friend. We had dinner with the Iverson’s. They are like the most cool, one of my favorite families, if not my favorite. I hope something changes and Elder Iverson gets to serve in Bloomfield Hills. I don’t even know the kid but I love that family. We taught Toni about forgiveness and repentance. We visited a few members as well. We had a great family prayer with one family that made me feel good. That's pretty much Tuesday.

WEDNESDAY! My journal entry begins with, "I need to start my journal entries with something other than good day. But that’s what they all are!" We got our tire fixed which took some time. It’s a blessing to have a companion like Elder Slik. He's consecrated but fun too. So when we are stuck waiting for our car we have a great time talking and laughing. For most of the afternoon we delivered tickets to people who wanted them. We had some cool experiences. One was with our EQP [elders quorum president] and we visited him to take him a few tickets. We saw his neighbor and asked if he had invited him. He said (almost textbook) no he wouldn't be interested, but then there was a moment of silence and he changed his mind and asked the guy and he was super excited. We gave him a few tickets and then a couple minutes later after we'd left he called us to come back and give him a few more. He even offered to pay for our gas. It was pretty funny. He had called his family and they were super interested. Oh btw tickets refer to the tickets for the Gladys Knight performance. We stopped in to visit Sister Rosser and she remembers the Johansson’s. It's a crazy small world out here. Everyone seems to be connected to everyone. I like Sister Rosser a lot. She's such a good example. She is always thinking of others and trying to serve. And she has a testimony of the Plan of Salvation. She shared with us a cool story about being yourself as a missionary. She once went in to visit a part member family where the husband was less active and the wife not a  member. The husband let them in but reamed them for like an hour and Sister Rosser make quips the whole time, her little sassy clever remarks. Finally after an hour or so they made to leave and the husband physically stopped her and asked her to teach his wife. It’s was a cool story. She said it was then she realized that she didn't have to be a robot, she could, and was supposed to be herself. We had a bomb lesson with Dante. He committed to be baptized. He had read the pamphlet we left about the Plan of Salvation and had really liked the section about the atonement:
The Atonement of Jesus Christ
Because Heavenly Father loves you, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for your sins. This payment is part of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ voluntarily suffered for your sins, pains, sicknesses, and sorrows. Through His grace and mercy, He can help you in your trials and relieve you of the guilt and shame that result from your sins.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16
In paying for your sins, Jesus did not eliminate your agency or personal responsibility—He will not make you clean against your will. To receive His help and strength, you need to exercise faith in Him, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and choose to follow His teachings for the rest of your life. As you rely on the Atonement, you will feel the love of God, and He will help you endure your trials. You will experience joy, peace, and consolation. All that seems unfair in life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the mercy and love of Heavenly Father. The Atonement is the central point in the plan of salvation.
He loved that part. It was powerful as we talked about the things he needs to do to gain access to the powers of the Atonement. He wants to change his life really, really bad. He has told us many times that only God makes him happy. And he's definitely been feeling the Spirit much more recently. We have high hopes for him. He wants to go on a mission too. When we've brought over priests with shirts and ties on he loves that. We went to Gladys Knight. Dang. It was good! She is such an amazing woman and she has a stunning smile. And she's pretty old too, but she can sing and she loves Jesus. The presentation was really, really bold and some people got up and left but a lot stayed and really felt the Spirit very strongly. Elder Slik and I were standing up clapping during one of the songs and this nonmember turns around and says, “Alright, can you stop clapping in my ear???” It like destroyed me. I was soooo embarrassed. I haven't blushed like that since Hna Briceno told us why all her children were born in the same month.... 

THURSDAY! DM was interesting today because it was about the exact same thing as the English district’s. It was interesting. Oh dang. Interesting thing happened after. Two missionaries in the zone were fighting and we had to go break things up. It thankfully hadn’t gotten physical yet. We brought over some food to help defuse the situation. They hadn't talked for like the last three weeks. Tension was so high and it was crazy.  It felt like we were treading on the thinnest of ice and if we missteped things would have exploded. In our lesson with Dante he said "I'm so excited to be baptized." Elder Slik did an interview with Maria
Elder Slik, Elder Puga, Maria, Sam, ? at Maria's baptism
who I found and taught a year ago. That was cool. She's ready. We also had dinner with the Jewitts and the Banks, two more of like my most favorite families. That night we talked with our bishop because our ward mission leader got released but we don’t have a new one. I gotta pick up the pace.

FRIDAY! We delivered Gladys Knight gift packets to the missionaries. It was kinda sad bc it was supposed to be a thing where you didn’t go unless you brought a non member but most people who went came alone... It was an incredible opportunity but it was underutilized by the members. We taught a  great lesson to Dante about the Word of Wisdom. He has been smoking since he was 9. But he wants to quit. He knows he can and that the Lord will help him. He read about herbs in the D&C and half heartedly tried to justify smoking weed but he knew he needed to stop smoking that too. He prayed about it and the Spirit told him. Despite his living conditions and his past, he is incredibly spiritual. It is probably in part because of his experiences that he is the way he is. It was powerful. We gave him a blessing at the end of the lesson and he cried. He really feels the Spirit and wants to come closer to God and serve him. He's a good example to me. We visited a member later in the evening who wouldn't let us in because her house was a mess from a fire more than six months ago and they still haven’t cleaned it up. She was like still traumatized. She spoke of it like it was yesterday. I imagine that living in the state she was didn’t allow her to forget the experience. She seemed desperate but unsure where to turn. We tried to help but we couldn't, she wouldn’t let us. She's at a standstill, too distressed to do anything without help and too embarrassed to accept help from anyone.

SATURDAY!  We went to a baptism in the morning with Rigdon and Dante. Those two hit it off pretty well and as well the convert bore his testimony about overcoming his addictions. It was powerful. Dante really felt the Spirit there. He wants to be baptized really badly. We did a little bit of secret service for a companionship in the zone, while they were out we really quickly cleaned up their apartment. I felt really good afterwards knowing that they could live more peacefully. We went to Maria's baptism. It's crazy that I'm here in the Zone again. Also crazy is how often I've been playing the piano. I play a few times a month for a baptism. I love Maria. She told the elders in MB west that  it'd be a sin not to baptize her on the 9NOV. We visited some awesome families that night. I am always amazed about how incredible the members of the church here are. There are some true saints, lots of people who I would like to grow up to be like. 

SUNDAY! Church was good. Interesting. For our investigators I think it was a little dull. The new member of the high council spoke about family history. One fell asleep and was snoring. Tyrone and Dante both walked to church which was cool. Tyrone really wants to be baptized. We visited the Martinez family. THEY are awesome too. Brother Martinez loves the Lord and knows the scriptures and I've never seen anyone who works as hard as Sister Martinez. She serves every waking moment of her day. If she's not working, she's ministering. I want to be like them. We taught Dante and the whole Z family about church which was good. Then we visited Sister Jackson. She's the daughter of Gladys and she is amazing too! Man she shared her conversion story and it was cool to see how prepared she was. She's 50, but with the light in her eyes you'd think that she's 30. She gets the gospel. It’s awesome to talk with those who do the simple things and see and feel the blessings of the Spirit in their life. She asked us if we have any black investigators because she wants to help teach them.

That's the spark notes of the week. It's been great. Writing this email I kinda realized how many great examples I get to serve, serve with, and who serve me. I want to be like so many of these people because they are like the Savior.
He lives.
Life is good.
I love you all so much!
Sam

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